Are you wondering how you can begin to Live Green without breaking the bank? Try these 5 simple ways you can be eco-friendly as your first step in your carbon footprint to live green and save at the bank. You’ll save trees and gas while saving yourself time and money, too. You just need your computer and a small amount of time to make a few changes to the way you handle your finances.
- Get your bank statement electronically: If you’re worried about computer hackers, don’t. Most banks send you an e-mail with a link to a secure Web site where you can check your balance.
Instant Internet access means you can quickly see if your bank account is dangerously low, which could end up costing you low-balance or insufficient funds charges. And by reducing your traditional statement collection, you save paper, which means you help save trees and live green.
- Direct-deposit your pay: Most employers and banks can handle your request. In fact, they probably prefer the method. Your paycheck will always be in the bank, not in the mail, and there’s no environmentally wasteful paper paycheck to worry about. You’ll save the time it takes to drive to the bank and you’ll save valuable gas and live green. So even when you’re on vacation, your money is in your account, earning interest or making sure your upcoming bill e-payments can be made without any problem.
- Automatically put pay in savings account: Have part of your pay automatically put into a savings account. All this typically takes is one extra checkbox when you have your paycheck directly deposited. The financial benefits are obvious. By sending the money directly to an account, you’re not tempted to spend it frivolously. Also, it starts earning interest immediately. The system also saves paper, saves you time and you won’t waste gas by driving to the bank to make the transfer between accounts. You’ll feel good about helping the environment, too. Live green!
- Pay your bills electronically: Once you’re online looking at those charges, it just takes a couple extra clicks to make the payment. In addition to helping you become a prompt payer, which will help your credit score, and saving even more forests, e-payments can help you make a little money. Because you’ll be able to make payments later in your billing cycle, your money will have more time to earn more interest for you. You’ll also save on stamps — 15 stamps a month for a year equals almost $75 — and last-minute trips to the post office that consume not only your precious time, but also fuel that adds to greenhouse emissions. An important way to start to live green. An added bonus: You protect yourself from identity thieves who cruise streets, looking for curbside mailboxes full of bill payments and checks with all that personal information. There is one thing to watch out for here. Even though it usually saves creditors money, too, a few still charge extra for e-payments.
- Budget electronically to control your spending: Financial experts say the best way to get a handle on your spending, or overspending, is to write it all down. Putting the information into a computer program — there are lots of packaged budget software out there — makes it easier for you to sort, compare and mend your money mistakes. Plus, most financial institutions allow you to download your statements’ data into popular software. That’s a lot easier, saves you time and is more environmentally friendly than sorting through stacks and stacks of budgeting paper. And in this economy and environment, it is more important than before to budget every dollar…and to live green!